I am a lucky dad; both of my boys are well mannered and kind human beings. My little one Alonzo is especially sweet to everyone around him. He is also a big, strong dude. He is only eight years old but already over 110lb’s and can do more pushups than most adults. The kid is the definition of a gentle giant. I know some people think I am the one who puts him in all the sports he plays, but it is him relentlessly asking us to put him in them, so we do.
Right now we are in the middle of basketball/wrestling/indoor soccer seasons. Yes, it is as crazy as it sounds. He wants to do it, so we play crazy taxi parents and get him there. As I mentioned, he is big, strong and quite athletic. He is also much bigger than the kids on his basketball team. In his infinite kindness, there will be times when he lets kids half his size “outmuscle” him during basketball games. It can be quite puzzling and frustrating sometimes. How do I unleash the little Hulk while also reinforcing his kind and gentle nature?
During football season it was easy. Football is the ultimate contact sport, and it is easy to pump the kids up to be physical. But I’m finding that basketball is a little trickier for him. I played basketball all my life, and honestly I played basketball like I played football. But different worlds, different generation, and different cultures. I tell him stories of my basketball “career, ” but I try to leave out all the dirty tricks I used to use. He listens well as he is very coachable. The kid soaks it up instantly.
During his last game, I might have gone a little old school coach on him. I always feel bad; he is so sensitive and gives me these big puppy eyes. My assistant coach talked to him as well and softened my frustrated words. When he went back out on the court, he just let go. He understood that is ok to use his strengths and boy did he use them. He was rebounding like a possessed man and ended up with half of the team’s points. I was very proud of him.
Now I am using that lesson he learned and applying it to myself. As my literary career takes off, I still feel a little self-conscious of calling myself an author. I always temper myself and try not to throw my weight around. But after seeing my little Hulk just let go, I realize it is time for me to let go as well. I am an author, yes an author. And it is ok to be proud of that, call me that and put all my strengths and skills into it. It is time for me to start going after my goals with the same determination that Alonzo went after those rebounds. I took the leap a couple of years back, but it is time to stop being cautious and gentle and just allow me to be me.
I have my baby to thank for that. I have found that as a dad, I have learned more from my boys that I can ever teach them. It is ok for me to go after my goal with full force and vigor, Alonzo showed me, and that it is ok to do it.